Sea Otter First Time!

I’m heading down to Monterey this week for a few days culminating with the Carmelo GF (82 miles) on Saturday! This is a stretch for me but its an out and back and I have no pride if I have to turn around…

I’ve been training consistently with TR and love the program as well as the podcast. The forum has also been helpful (thank you @IvyAudrain for helping me work around my crazy work schedule!). My primary goal is completion without crashing (metabolically or physically:-) Despite this rather plebeian goal I have a nutrition plan (thank you @Dr_Alex_Harrison ).

I’ll hang out at the festival Friday and get the lay of the land then the ride is Saturday AM. I do have a couple of questions, of course…

  1. The ride is a mass start but not a race. I’m slow and very shy. How can I position myself so I dont get into trouble with more experienced and fast riders? What is the expectation?

  2. For people who have gone to Sea Otter any recommendations for things not to miss? My goal this year is to just get outside on bike and be around live cycling.

  3. Will any of the TR crew be there to say hi to? You may be the only people I know :slight_smile:


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Im going down with my wife…racing XC on Sunday. Just walk around and see all the vendors…lots of free swag on Friday if you get there early. We just enjoy being in Monterey, great restaraunts, nice beaches. If you have never done it do 17 mile drive…beautiful views.


If I’m reading the map right… the Carmelo route goes nowhere near Carmel. It sends you down Reservation and River Road. It will be a nice ride through the farmland at the base of the mountains… but be prepared for rough roads, bad drivers and no shoulder. The speed limit is 55 and people drive crazy on that road. Another thing to be aware of: the sea breeze will likely be a headwind coming back. Mornings aren’t bad but afternoons usually blows 15-20 mph on average.

Looks like Pacifico takes the bike path and goes along the coast. You can do that on your own and either way will be dodging tourists through Monterey. Hopefully there’s some good signage out for you. Have a good one!

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I don’t know that event at all, so no event-specific ideas. But just a few things I’d do:

See if there are any organisations that offer guided rides, coaching, meet-ups, or anything like that. Maybe you can find a group on Friday you could ride with on the Saturday?

For the start, I’d turn up a bit early, so you get an idea of the other riders, and listen to the announcements from the organisors.
I would not start right at the front, where usually the faster riders want to be. But also not at the very back, because it is easy to become isolated.

For the ride, just ride at your own pace. It is very easy to get sucked in and try and stick with a fast group, especially at the start, but you might pay for it later when you run out of energy. I would ride a little bit faster than you usually do at the start, so you don’t end up right at the back. If you see a group that seems to be riding at your pace, try and ride with them - riding events is much more fun in a group. If you find one, just ask “can I ride with you guys?”. It is much easier to ask when already riding, because you already know you’re doing the same pace.

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At the start be up near the front but be on the outside. The fast starters will be gone in a flash and not have to move around you if you stay out of the middle. Pick a group to join once you get more comfortable. Let someone else break the wind.

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Wish we could be there! Please have a blast for us and enjoy the suffering. :slight_smile:

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I’ve done the sea otter fondos a couple of times and i wouldn’t stress about the start. usually they have you all line up and there’ll be a bunch of individuals aiming for good times who’ll be at the front while most of the others just fill up slots on the track before it starts. as mentioned above, once it starts, the fast starters will go for it, but as you’ll be going around the track for a bit i usually find it as more of a starter to get my legs warmed up as i’ve been hanging out for a bit before the starts.

I haven’t done the carmelo route, but the pacifico route is nice. mostly on quieter roads until you get to the coast where you’ll have cars passing by you. some signs do get confusing, but overall they’re marked.

one thing for sure is to walk the grounds before/after your event. as there’s a ton of vendors/booths there’s tons of stuff and i did stack up on a bunch of the individual gu tablets which i used the next day on my event. overall it’s a great event so make sure you make the most of it!.

i’m not riding anything this weekend, but am going for the expo as it’s usually where i’m able to score a good deal on some items or at least coupon codes that i can eventually use when i get back home.

have fun!

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If you’re doing the Fondo, and aren’t trying to “win” it… just hang back at the start. Most events start on the racetrack. IIRC the Fondo rides the track clockwise (i.e. reverse from how Laguna Seca is typically raced) before it exits Fort Ord. Just let the gunners take each others’ front wheels out after the whistle and once the dust settles, pedal mellow until you find a group of riders that seem fun to hang with.

Save a bit of gas for the end. Riding up A road to get back to the track requires some effort.

As far as the expo: Bring sunscreen and a hat. Though it’s typically cold in the morning, once it burns off, the lagoon can get toasty. Not sure if you like watching bike events, but the dual slalom is probably the most spectator friendly of the events.

And the ride just hit both my birthday and my age…


Happy birthday for tomorrow!

Well how did it go?

Finished just over 8 hours but I finished!

Process goal 1: feeding and hydration: I think it went well no bonking and I’m tired now but not hysterical which is a good sign.

Process goal 2: don’t crash: check!

Stretch goal: do the whole ride before course closure: done

It was my first event and longest ride ever. So I am pleased. And tired

I fried my forearms shoulders but nothing a few days won’t fix.

Sea Otter has been a blast. Great people watching…